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Act I. Scene I, etc.—The heading here in the original text is:—“Actus Primus. Scoena Prima. Enter IFlavius, Murellus, and certaine Commoners over the Stage.” Murellus stands throughout not only in all the Folios, but also in the editions of both Rowe and Pope. The right name was first inserted by Theobald.
1. You ought not walk-The history and explanation of this now disused construction may be best collected from a valuable paper by Mr. Guest “On English Verbs, Substantive and Auxiliary,” read before the Philological Society, 13th March, 1846, and printed in their Proceedings, II. 223. “Originally,” says Mr. Guest, “the to was prefixed to the gerund, but never to the present infinitive; as, however, the custom gradually prevailed of using the latter in place of the former, the to was more and more frequently prefixed to the infinitive, till it came to be considered as an almost necessary appendage of it. Many idioms, however, had sunk too deeply into the language to admit of alteration; and other phrases, to which the popular ear had been familiarized, long resisted the intrusive particle.” The ancient syntax is still retained in all cases with the auxiliary verbs, as they are called, shall, will, can, may, do, and also with must and let, and oftener than not with bid, dare, hear, make, see, and perhaps some others. Cause is frequently so used; and so is help, sometimes, in dialectic English (provincial or metropolitan). Vid. 634. But, even since the language may be said to have entered upon the stage of its existence in which it still is, several of the verbs just enumerated as not admitting the to are occasionally found following the common example and taking it; and others, again, which at the present day have completely conformed to the ordinary construction, formerly used now and then to dispense with it. One of Mr. Guest's quotations exemplifies both these archaisms; it is from the portion of The Mirror for Magistrates contributed by John Higgins in 1574 (King Albanact, 16):— with the Second Edition of the Lyrical Ballads, 1800), “and that by so chaste a writer as Cowper, is an instance of the strange abuses which poets have introduced into their language, till they and their readers take them as matters of course, if they do not single them out expressly as matters of admiration.” A church-going bell is merely a bell for church-going; and the expression is constructed on the same principle with a thousand others that are and always have been in familiar use;—such as a marauding or a sightseeing expedition, a banking or a house-building speculation, a fox-hunting country, a lending library, a fishing village, a bathing station, a writing desk, a dining room, a dancing school, a dwelling house, etc., etc. What would Wordsworth have said to such a daring and extreme employment of the same form as we have in Shakespeare, where he makes Cleopatra (in Antony and Cleopatra, iii. 11) say, speaking of the victorious Caesar, - “From his all-obeying breath I hear The doom of Egypt?” But these audacities of language are of the very soul of poetry. The peculiar class of substantives under consideration cannot, properly speaking, be regarded as even present participles in disguise. Their true history has been given for the first time by Mr. Richard Taylor in his Additional Notes to Tooke's Diversions of Purley, 1829 and 1840; Vid. edition of 1840, pp. xxxix-liv. The old termination of the present participle in English was and or end; and when that part of the verb ...was used substantively it denoted the agent, or performer of the verbal act. Thus, Haelend signified the
“And, though we owe the fall of Troy requite,
That is, “Though we ought to requite, . . . yet let revenge light,” as we should now say. Here we have let with the to, and owe (of which ought or owed is the preterite), as in Shakespeare's expression before us, without it. Others of Mr. Guest’s citations from the same writer exhibit the auxiliaries may, will, can with the to. And he also produces from Spenser (F. Q. iv. 7.32):
“Whom when on ground she grovelling saw to roll;”
and from Shakespeare (Othello, iv. 2);
The verb to owe, it may further be observed, is etymologically the same with own. Shakespeare repeatedly has owe where own would be now employed; as in Iago's diabolical self-gratulation (in Othello, iii.
Nor all the drowsy syrops of the world,
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet sleep
Which thou owed'st yesterday.” The Anglo-Saxon word is sigan,—the ag, or radical part, of which is evidently the same with the ex of the Greek éxew, signifying to hold, to possess, to have for one's property, or what we call one's own. If we suppose the a to have been pronounced broad, as in our modern all, and the g to have come to be softened as g final usually is in modern German, ag and owe, unlike as they are to the eye, will be only different ways of spelling,orrepresentingby letters, almost the same vocal utterance. The sound which the vowel originally had is more nearly preserved in the Scotch form of the word, awe. The n which we have in the form own is either merely the common annexation which the vowel sound is apt to seek as a support or rest for itself, or, possibly, in this case it may be the en of the Anglo-Saxon past participle (àgen) or the an of the infinitive (sigan). So we have both to awake and to awaken, to ope, and to open. In so short a word as the one under consideration, and one in such active service, these affixes would be the more liable to get confounded with the
root. It may sound odd to speak of a man as ownF
ing what he owes; yet, if we will think of it, there are few things that can rightly be said to be more a man’s own than his debts; they are emphatically proper to him, or his property, clinging to him, as they do, like a part of himself. Again, that which a man owns in this sense, or owes, is that which it is proper for him, or which he has, to perform or to discharge (as the case may be); hence the secondary meaning of ought as applied to that which is one's duty, or which is fitting.
1. Upon a labouring day.—Labouring is here a substantive, not a participle. It is as when we say that we love labouring, or that labouring is conducive to health of mind as well as of body. It is not meant that the day labours; as when we speak of a labouring man, or a labouring ship, or a labouring line—
(“When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
A labouring day is an expression of the same kind
An expression used by Cowper (in his verses com
posed in the name of Alexander Selkirk), “the sound of the church-going bell” has been passionately reprobated by Wordsworth. “The epithet church-going applied to a bell,” observes the critic (in an Appendix upon the subject of Poetic Diction, first attached, I believe, in 1820 to the Preface originally publishe?